The Odyssey
The Odyssey
by Homer

The Odyssey Book 19 Quotes Page 1

How we cite the quotes:
Quote 1

(Penelope:) ‘But come, handmaidens, give him a wash and spread a couch for him here, with bedding and coverlets and with shining blankets, so that he can keep warm as he waits for dawn of the golden throne, and early tomorrow you shall give him a bath, anoint him, so that he can sit in the hall beside Telemachos and expect to dine there; and it will be the worse for any of those men who inflicts heart-wasting annoyance on him; he will accomplish nothing here for all his terrible spite […].’ (19.317-325)

Penelope is so generous that she offers a nameless beggar a place by Telemachos’s side, simply for bringing her news of her husband.

Quote 2

(Penelope:) 'Human beings live for only a short time, and when a man is harsh himself, and his mind knows harsh thoughts, all men pray that sufferings will befall him hereafter while he lives; and when he is dead all men make fun of him. But when a man is blameless himself, and his thoughts are blameless, the friends he has entertained carry his fame widely to all mankind, and many are they who call him excellent.' (19.328-334)

What's the point of living a totally dull, blameless life? Everyone will say nice things about you. Okay, so it's not exactly champagne and limo rides, but "fame"—what people said about you—was super important to the Greeks. Having a good reputation was just as important as it was to any 13-year-old.

Next Page: Book 20 Quotes
Previous Page: Book 18 Quotes

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